Merry Christmas from the Barstads

Beyond thankful for our family, friends and the holiday season and chance focus and to celebrate Jesus and His birthday.  SO thankful for our lives, our freedom in Christ and for His willingness to die for us. 

 We had the best day with both our families (and the masons on FaceTime).
Merry Christmas from the Barstads!


Shea's biggest, loudest, craziest Troll party EVER

Shea exclusively wears Troll pajamas all day, everyday- she loves Trolls.
She had seen the movie 3 times before her party and she just fell in love with it.
We all really did. 
It is so sweet and so positive and, I kind of think 'celebrate alwaysish'.
So we knew we had to have a troll party.  Luckily since I never actually threw the twins a crazy 8 party, we had tons of stuff to use.
Jeff helped my vision of a troll tree entrance come true and it looked amazing!
And then the kids had the genius idea to use balloons hanging as the little pods that the trolls live in.

And I took photos before the party and then pretty much forgot.

Victoria shared her birthday with Shea, yet again by using her free time to make Shea these amazing cupcakes for her birthday that were gorgeous AND delicious.

And the kids made their hair into troll hair with this awesome spray hair stuff from Andi.
They loved it.

And the best part, by far, of the entire party.
Shea's entire personality is summed up in this video.
I just love her.
Happy Birthday Shea Shea. I cant believe that you are three.  It feels like just yesterday  you were born and now you are in a big girl bed! We love you so so much.  And are learning how to manage your incredibly large personality...
(and here is one to show us all someday that she did allow victoria to come to her birthday and allowed it it be Vic's birthday too.  She matured alot after blowing out her candles.)


Bob turns 40!

My sweet sister-in-law hosted a family dinner to celebrate Bob turning the big 40. (This was back in October) She had a fun food truck come for dinner and the rest of the evening was a complete surprise to Bob.
Bob's love language is words of affirmation. That is probably my weakest one. I am a words person but not spoken out loud words. I like to either do it through a letter, text, email or shirt (duh). 
During one of Matt Chandler's sermons that we heard during Kanakuk this summer talked about something he did for his daughter's 13th birthday. I knew immediately that I wanted to do it for Bob's 40th. He talked about identity markers, the attributes and character traits God has given each person. For his daughter's birthday he had 13 of her closest family members stand up and talk about 13 different identity markers they saw in her and how God has and will use them in her life. How cool is that?!
So I started a secret family email and gave everyone a list of 40 words that described Bob. I told them to pick 5 or 6 per family and then divide them up for who would stand up and talk about each one. I gave the list of words to the amazing girls at Legacy Cakes and they put them all over his cake.
I printed off each trait on a card with the definition. I then hole punched them and stuck a candle through each one. When each person stood up and talked about their word, they would stick the candle in the cake and then give Bob the word card for him to collect on his key ring.
Here are his 40 words.
Crazy, talkative, perseverance, Dad, Husband, inspiring, strategic, doctor, adventurous, compassionate, charismatic, leader, ambitious, loving, creative, brave, sweet, son, heartfelt, fun, giving, thoughtful, intelligent, courageous, faithful, kind, clever, active, Godly, responsible, honest, helpful, funny, hard working, logical, joyful, wise, skillful, patience and witty.
It took over an hour to put all 40 candles in the cake and it was such a special time that I will never forget. It was so cool hearing all the stories and examples of how we all see Bob's strengths. Everyone was in tears, especially Bob. This was truly Bob's dream birthday. He couldn't get over it and was so touched and humbled.
After everyone was finished talking about Bob, he pulled out a typed letter that he had prepared to read to everyone. He came to his own party with a letter talking about each person at the party and what they meant to him. The tears kept on coming! It was amazing.
It can't be a party without matching shirts!
I have actually had this shirt idea in my head for over a year. I was so excited about doing a "Bob" themed shirt. It's a list of all famous Bob's by their last name. Ending with the most famous one of all! I made a kid version too.

How funny are those WTF koozies?! That was all Bob. He is a clever one.
I love you so much babe. May 40 be your best year ever! 


Surprise California Trip

Bob turned 40 this year so we went back and forth on how to celebrate it. Party or trip? We decided to go on a family trip to remember this big birthday. We had planned a trip to the Big Bend at first. That is one of Bob's favorite places and it is extra special because that is where he proposed to me too. We had everything lined up and about two weeks before we decided that it probably wasn't going to be the best trip to take the girls on at this age. Bob's dream trip to the Big Bend would be hiking everyday and golfing. McKenna sometimes gets tired walking around the block so her sweet little voice kept coming in my head "mom my legs are tired." So we canceled the long weekend of hikes and started planning a plan b trip. Turned out to the best trip ever! 
The girls had no idea that we were planning a trip, we were always going to pull them out of school and surprise them. When we started planning a trip to California it just so happened that the day we traveled there was going to fall on my actual birthday. Yes this was a trip to celebrate Bob's bday but he gave me full rights to my day so I took full advantage and said that I would like to spend my day at DisneyLand! I mean, if we are going to California why would we not? So my amazing husband switched around the plane tickets so that we flew into the town where DisneyLand was. Planning on how to surprise the girls with this made me giddy. The Friday of my birthday turned out to be a teacher work day so they were out of school. My whole family loves a birthday and celebrates it hard core. So it was not out of the ordinary for Bob to wake the girls up at 6:30 and tell them that they were all taking me on a surprise breakfast date. They had no idea that we had already been up for hours hiding all the bags in the car. I crawled back in bed and pretended to be asleep when they came in singing me Happy Birthday in Kanakuak Family style. (We will never sing it any other way.)
I jumped in the car as they all told me to and pretended to go along with what they thought was a fun surprise for me! We pulled into the parking garage of the airport and they were completely clueless. They assumed it was the mall parking garage. This is what we said next...
It was a dream day guys. Truly the Best Day Ever.
Southwest airlines was amazing! They found out it was my birthday and they had the whole plane sing to me! Like got on the speaker, told everyone to turn their overhead lights on and then they turned all the lights off. It looked so cool! After everyone sang they gave me a crown made from peanut bags and a cake made from toilet paper. Amazing!
 We went to the hotel only to drop our bags off and then went straight to DisneyLand, we were walking distance from it. We had never been to DisneyLand before but I had gotten all the tips I could find!
We did Adventure Land first and it was so much fun!
The day just kept getting better and better. It happened to be Disney's not so scary Halloween party that night so we had special tickets for it. You get to trick or treat in the park with all the characters in costumes! Family themed costumes in DisneyLand on my birthday! I mean, somebody pinch me please. 
So you know I spent hours upon hours thinking of what we could all dress up as. I wanted it to be something easy to travel with and something easy to walk around in. I had made my mind up on just all wearing party animal tshirts with ears and a tail but then thought, when in the world are we going to all be in Disney during Halloween again? Probably never so why not GBOGH. (go big or go home) So I decided we would all be Cinderella and Bob would be our Prince Charming. Bob was such a sport and it was magical guys. This was all a surprise for the girls too so they flipped out when we went back to the room that night to change into our costumes for the evening party!
We walked back to Disney and even had people stop to take our picture because we looked so royal and hilarious!
We are still eating the Halloween candy from this night. It was crazy how much candy the girls got and they were loving life! We stayed till 1am Texas time and then headed back to the hotel to rest up for the rest of the trip. 
We drove to Carlsbad, CA and spent the next few days relaxing and enjoying our time together. Turned out to be some of the hottest days in CA when we were there so I guess we brought the Texas heat with us. We spent a lot of time by the pool, went to the San Diego Zoo, the beach, a baseball game, explored and ate the most delicious food!
It was an unforgettable trip and such a great way to celebrate my 35th and Bob's 40th! 

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